How hospice became big business. A new investigation in The New Yorker reveals an industry that at times puts profits before patients.
A federal judge says Hillary Clinton violated government policy by using a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state. The Democratic candidate for president continues to defend herself over the email controversy, saying her actions were legal. Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Jeb Bush hold dueling town hall meetings in New Hampshire. The White House approves a final permit allowing oil drilling in the Arctic. The Federal Reserve sends mixed signals on its expected interest rate hike next month. And former President Jimmy Carter announces he has brain cancer. A panel of journalists joins Diane for analysis of the week’s top national news stories.
- Gardiner Harris White House correspondent, The New York Times; author, "Hazard"
- Susan Page Washington bureau chief, USA Today
- Ron Elving Senior Washington editor, NPR News
Video: Should We Drill In The Arctic?
Video: How Will The Arctic Drilling Decision Affect Obama's Legacy?
Video: Should The U.S. Have A Shorter Election Cycle?
MS. DIANE REHMThanks for joining us. I'm Diane Rehm. The first two women are set to graduate from Army Ranger school today. Hillary Clinton defends her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. And former president, Jimmy Carter, says he is at ease with whatever comes following his cancer diagnosis. Here for the domestic hour of the Friday News Roundup, Gardiner Harris, White House correspondent for the New York Times, Susan Page, Washington bureau chief at USA Today and Ron Elving, senior Washington editor at NPR.
MS. DIANE REHMAnd, of course, you, as always, are invited to join us, 800-433-8850 is the number to call. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can join us on Facebook or Twitter. How good to see all of you.
MR. RON ELVINGGood to be with you, Diane.
MS. SUSAN PAGEGood morning.
MR. GARDINER HARRISThrilled to be here.
REHMSusan, Hillary Clinton's handling of emails during her tenure as secretary of state, she's pushing back and yet, yesterday, a Freedom of Information Act against the State Department, a judge implied that Secretary Clinton had not followed government policy. What's going on here?
PAGEYou know, this is a story that does not seem to be going anywhere. It's been six months since we found out through the New York Times story that she exclusively used a private email server when she was secretary of state, to the surprise of nearly everyone involved. And basic questions continue not to have been answered about this and you find her -- Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail and her campaign trying to push back.
PAGEBut this -- the federal judge yesterday, the U.S. District Court judge who, by the way, was appointed to the job by Bill Clinton, so not -- hard for them to argue this is a case of Republicans run amuck, said that she did not follow government policy. Now, the judge wasn't explicit on what government policy he was talking about. It could be that he was referring to the use of a private server.
PAGEIt could also be a reference to a law that requires the government to preserve federal documents for history's purposes and for investigation purposes. And so it's possible he was referring to that. But this was -- this judge ordered the government to go to the FBI, which now, we believe, has possession of that private server, to look and see what material might still be available on it.
ELVINGThat's right. The FBI now has the server. We have been told that the server's been wiped. We have been told that the server could still be read in some manner by the proper forensic experts. We have been told many, many different things about the technology of this and about the legalities of this. I don't think there's any question, at this point, as the judge said, that some kind of a policy was not followed here.
ELVINGWe would not be where we are today. I think the question at this point is going to be whether or not she broke the law. And former Attorney General Michael Mukasey has made a case for saying that -- in The Wall Street Journal, in an op-ed, that the Secretary broke the law and needs to be dealt with as someone who, at the very minimum, showed extremely poor judgment in her handling of government documents.
ELVINGAnd beyond that, may have exposed herself to some kind of criminal indictment. Now, we've seen before such eminent people as General Petraeus have to come to terms with the loose way in which they handled government documents that were classified. She may say that she didn't know they were classified. They may not be nearly as important as some of the things that the general was handling.
ELVINGBut he, in the end, had to settle with the justice department and cop a plea, essentially, pay a large fine and face even more severe penalties had the case come out in that way.
REHMGardiner Harris, welcome back from three years in India...
HARRISThank you, Diane.
REHM...to your new post.
REHMWhat's your take on this?
HARRISWell, obviously, I think going forward, one of the big takes is the political take. What does all this mean for the presidential campaign going forward? And, you know, scandals become important when they seem to reveal something deep and important about a character, right? And so the Hillary Clinton email scandal is important because it goes to this notion that Hillary is a secretive character, that she, you know, sort of never apologizes and that she is not being straight forward in this.
HARRISAnd certainly, she had a press conference this week that I think most observers suggested was disastrous because she really failed to kind of acknowledge to anyone that there was a problem whatsoever with her email use. And why can't she -- now, there was also this really interesting set-to between her and a Black Lives Matter activist. And it was another one of those circumstances -- in that one, she came off a little bit better, but she -- in that situation, even though she now agrees that the previous policies of both her husband and herself that were very tough on crime policies, tough sentencing laws had had a profoundly negative effect, she couldn't even, in that circumstance, say, you know what, looking back, we probably made a mistake and that was wrong.
HARRISNow, why can't she do the same thing about the email? Why can't she just sort of say, look, I had some concerns about using my public email because I'd gone after multiple times. I really wanted to kind of control this. Looking back, that looks like that that was a mistake. I think that she would go a long way toward putting this, at least somewhat politically, behind her if she was able to do that.
REHMDo you think she could do that, Susan?
PAGEWell, I think could she do it -- could she put it behind her? I think this can no longer -- is no longer in a situation where an apology, while helpful, would...
REHMNo matter what she says.
PAGE... put this behind her. It might put her on a better track with some voters who would like to hear something that seems a little more straight forward from her, but this is an investigation that we're going to be dealing with for months and months to come 'cause there's an investigation now with the FBI. There are investigations with the House Benghazi committee. We've got Freedom of Information requests still pending.
PAGEThat was what the court -- the judge was talking about yesterday. So this is going to be around for awhile and what the -- what Hillary Clinton and her campaign have failed to do is follow rule number one when you have a scandal, which is find out what happened, put everything out there to avoid this kind of drip, drip, drip of disclosure. That's exactly what they've been seeing.
HARRISYou know, this has been, to some degree, in the air for a lot longer than six months. I mean, the Times took this story to another level in March of this year, but there was talk about her handling of her emails back as far as 2013. There was an opportunity for them to have taken a totally different approach to this, but it appears -- and, of course, we don't want to psychoanalyze here, but it appears that a decision was made at the highest levels, shall we say, of the Clinton operation that they were not going to give any ground on this, that they didn't want to see the server turned over to anyone other than themselves and that's how -- they could basically stonewall their way through.
REHMDo we know who at the state department gave permission for her to carry on this way?
HARRISI do not know.
PAGEThe state department, at their briefings, have sidestepped questions, repeated questions, from reporters about did anyone approve it, who was that, did anyone object? Did anyone say, no, this is not the right way to proceed? That's one of the questions that eventually we're going to find out the answer to. There's an answer to that question. We don't know it yet.
PAGEAt some point, we're going to find out.
ELVINGWell, the apex of the decision-making process at the state department...
HARRISIs her. Right, right.
REHMSecretary of state.
ELVINGSo to whom would she be turning for permission?
REHMYeah, okay. And then, the question becomes how is this affecting the rest of Democratic campaign, Gardiner?
HARRISWell, you know, of course, there is the sense in the democratic circles that she's wounded and it's one of the reasons why Joe Biden is now very publically starting to mull whether to sort of join the race. Now, whether he's serious, whether the people who are talking to him are serious or just trying to get him out of the deep depression that he admitted that he was in as a result of the death of his son, Beau, is a little unclear.
HARRISYou know, he said that he's going to make a decision next month in September. It's going to be a very busy month politically and on the Hill. But to some extent, he can sort of remain in the sidelines for a long time. I mean, I think what we all tend to forget is now in the glow of Joe Biden's vice presidency, he's clearly -- he and the president have become like brothers.
HARRISYou know, Joe Biden was a miserable presidential candidate, you know. He tried it before. It didn't really work.
REHMWhat about Bernie Sanders and how his numbers are being affected?
PAGEHe's -- Bernie Sanders is the phenomenon of the Democratic field. Who would've -- really, before -- when he announced even, did any of us think he would be doing so well against Hillary Clinton and getting...
REHMWell, I didn't think he'd be doing badly, frankly, when he was on this program.
PAGEYes, but he's doing extraordinarily well.
REHMHe certainly is.
PAGEAnd he's getting big crowds and enthusiastic crowds. And, you know, Hillary Clinton, I think, is still the presumptive Democratic nominee and she's got money and an organization and a history and the possibility of making history herself by being the nominee and perhaps the president. But Bernie Sanders has managed to tap enthusiasm that Hillary Clinton, so far, has not been able to do and that is a remarkable thing.
ELVINGYes. It's three things, really. You've got the fact that Hillary Clinton is not waltzing to the nomination, use the word that her campaign likes to use, and they, of course, say they never expected to, but I think they pretty much expected to. And then, number two, you've got the fact that are a number of issues out there that motivate the Democratic base, much as we're seeing on the Republican side, there are hardcore issues that are motivating many Republican voters.
ELVINGAnd on the Democratic side, there is an anger at income inequality. Not just a wow, that's an interesting issue, but mad, mad, angry people who really want to go after them.
REHMAnd Bernie has been talking about that.
ELVINGHe's been talking about that forever. He's been talking about that since the '70s. And then, thirdly, there's the phenomenon of his personality, which fits this all perfectly.
REHMRon Elving of NPR, Susan Page of USA Today and Gardiner Harris of the New York Times all here to answer your questions after a short break. Stay with us.
REHMAnd we're back with the domestic hour of the Friday news roundup. This week with Susan Page of USA Today, Ron Elving of NPR and Gardiner Harris of The New York Times. Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, held dueling town home meetings in New Hampshire. They really went after each other, Gardiner. How real is this?
HARRISWell, of course, Donald Trump has been going after everyone for a long, long time, so that wasn't new. What is new, of course, is that the rest of the field is sort of splitting up into two different camps as to how to deal with Donald Trump. And Jeb Bush is now decidedly in -- you know, Lindsey Graham sort of started this, Jeb Bush is now there -- in terms of attacking Trump. Is that the right strategy? Nobody quite knows. Obviously, the big question of the Republican campaign is, you know, what does one do about the Donald? He is a phenomenon. I think, and just most recently, this past week, there has been a lot of sort of stories about, is the Donald going to continue?
HARRISI think there was -- most professional observers of this race thought that he was a summer fling, right? That you sort of fall in love in the summer with, you know, the guy with the big chest and the bouffant hair and then you settle down with someone serious, like Jeb Bush, in the winter. But the winter is bleeding into the fall, with the Donald still in many people's hearts. And that's beginning to really start to panic the field. And Jeb is right there in that panic.
PAGEYou know what I -- one thing I think that has happened over the past week is that establishment Republican figures are now willing to entertain the terrifying possibility that Donald Trump could win the nomination. And that didn't happen before. Even when he was leading national polls, people said there's no way that the Republican Party would nominate Donald Trump. But he's shown some -- but the -- everyone -- the experts have been wrong every step of the way when it comes to Donald Trump. He continues to do really well. He's only -- in the new CNN/ORC Poll that came out yesterday, he's only six points behind Hillary Clinton in a head-to-head matchup.
PAGEAnd his critique of Jeb Bush, who, you know, used to be the frontrunner -- used to be assumed to be the frontrunner before he got into this race -- what he said Wednesday night at these dueling town halls was that Jeb Bush is a low-energy person. I don't see how he's electable. And if you went to the Jeb Bush town hall, which was about 20 miles away in New Hampshire, Jeb Bush was making his case against Trump. But he did see like kind of a low-energy person.
ELVINGIf Bernie Sanders is a mild surprise, Donald Trump is a huge shock to the system -- no question about it. And he has gone farther than anyone would have ever imagined.
ELVINGAnd we all assumed -- and I think we have to say we all assumed -- that as soon as he started saying outrageous things, like what he said about John McCain, what he said about Megyn Kelly, what he says about everybody, people would start to peel away and say, "Oh, no, no. That's not a presidential candidate. That's just a summer show." Well, he keeps saying these things and his numbers don't go down. Now, we should always note that we're talking about him leading in a very large field. So with 20 or 25 percent, depending on what state and what poll, he has the most points. At the same time, he has only 20 or 25 percent of one half of the voters -- Republicans and Republican leaners. So it's a fraction of a fraction.
ELVINGIt is not necessarily a majority of Americans giving their hearts to Donald Trump. All the polls still show that there is more resistance to him being the Republican nominee among Republicans than for any other candidate.
ELVINGAnd that poll that shows him just six points behind Hillary Clinton, I think, is one of those summer polls where we're measuring heat. Obviously Hillary Clinton is dropping in terms of her heat. And Donald Trump is still as hot as he's ever been.
HARRISWell, but, Diane, I mean let's be clear. Republicans want to win. And Donald Trump, according to everything we know -- and we are often wrong, let's acknowledge that -- cannot win. You know, his negatives are like 60 percent. There are huge majorities of Americans who say they would rather rot in hell than vote for Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, right? So it is hard -- it is this huge field. He's got large numbers because, you know, the more stable people -- I'm trying to be nice here -- are -- have distributed their votes over a lot of various candidates. You would figure that, as the nomination process goes along, the winnowing will happen amongst these establishment folks like Jeb and like Rubio and like Kasich.
REHMYou know what? It makes me think that the Brits have it right, that the term of the campaign ought to be much shorter, winnowing out the way-outs before you even get started.
ELVINGThat does look awfully attractive at this point, doesn't it?
REHMIt certainly does.
ELVINGAnd Canada does it much the same way. Pretty much the rest of the world does it some other way. Nobody wants to have a two-year campaign except us. But let's also remember that in that winnowing process, which we've always counted on in the past, we have a hiccup, which is billionaires and other big-money donors who can say, "I'm going to keep my guy in there."
ELVING"I've paid some pretty good money to have a presidential candidate and I want to see him run as long as possible." So the old mechanism, which was you ran out of money, you had to go home, that's not operative.
REHMWhere is Trump's money coming from besides his own?
PAGETrump's money is coming from his own.
PAGEYeah. And I think -- I would love to see the fundraiser trying to raise money for Donald Trump, right? Because what would you target, billionaires who had more billions than he had? Who would you target exactly if you were fundraising for Donald Trump?
HARRISDo you remember Ross Perot saying, I'll take some donations, because people need to have skin in the game.
PAGEYou know, I would say one thing. I think we should stop making predictions about Donald Trump and...
PAGE...the limits to how far he can go. Because we've been nothing but wrong. So let's see -- it's up to, you know, it's not up to us. It's up to voters. Americans get to decide if this is somebody they want to nominate.
HARRISWell it's -- I mean, I think people are really looking now toward even March. You know, you have the SEC primary in March. You have -- beginning after the SEC primary, the primaries begin to turn from apportionment primaries, where people get, you know, essentially the amount that they -- of the vote, to winner-take-all primaries. So, you know, for the Republicans, I think a lot of people were thinking that the Donald would fizzle out by the fall. I think most of them -- many of them are thinking, okay, we may be seeing this show through March of next year, which is really extraordinary. And just a plug for us political reporters, Diane, I mean, this two-year system is great for our business.
HARRISYou know, most things have been going the wrong way for us.
REHMWell, but people...
HARRISBut this is great.
REHMBut people are tired of it already. And they tell me they're tired of it already. They wonder why we even talk about it. But the fact of matter is it's happening. And we do need to talk about it.
PAGEYou know, I think one effect of Donald Trump and of the email controversy...
PAGE...on the other side, is that it takes up all our attention. So that there might be an interesting campaign about health care policy...
PAGE...three of the Republicans have come up with health care plans now -- or about education policy or about Common Core or about the U.S. role in the world. But that is -- and there are some candidates who have tried to talk to some degree about issues. But that's not getting any traction because we are taken with these more entertainment...
REHMIs that our fault?
PAGEPart -- well, partly our fault.
ELVINGAll of our news organizations have covered many of the substantive things that are said by these candidates. We have. It plays maybe in a little different part of the paper or maybe a little different part of the program. And people might have to listen a little longer or look a little harder to find it. It's there but we follow -- we follow the audience. We follow what the audience wants to hear.
HARRISTwenty-four million people tuned into that Fox News debate.
ELVINGAnd it wasn't to see Ted Cruz.
HARRISAnd I was with them, as was my entire family. And it was riveting TV. You know, you have to give the moderators of the Fox News debate some real credit. They asked some really tough questions. And those candidates evidently squirmed. It was hard to take your eyes off. I mean, we had some, you know, pie going in the kitchen at the time and I couldn't get to it. Because it was so good. I mean, let's not, you know, let's count our blessings. We are having an extraordinary primary with some crazy stuff happening.
HARRISAnd it's riveting.
REHMI want to get to some other issues of substance. President Obama has given the Shell Oil Company clearance to begin drilling for oil in the Arctic. Tell us why and how this affects his reputation as an environmental savior?
ELVINGWell, it certainly is not going to improve his reputation as an environmental savior in the eyes of the environmental movement. They're very upset about it. People and many editorialists are highly upset about it. Hillary Clinton, a person we've already talked about, broke with the president quite openly and said she would not have approved it. Perhaps some people want to be suspicious, see it as a conspiracy, that Obama made this decision so that Hillary could split with him and have a better profile on environmental issues herself.
REHMBut why did he do it?
ELVINGBecause he has pursued -- and this does not necessarily comport with most people's impression -- but, you know, amongst all the other things that he has to done to restrain fossil fuels and the war on coal that we've heard so much about, this has been a rather balanced administration with respect to permitting much more development of fossil fuels in this country through things like fracking and offshore drilling. They have had what they would call a balanced approach -- other people would call schizophrenic or mixed. But they have not been the 100-percent-on-the-side-of-the-environmentalists administration that many people wanted or expected.
REHMConsider how low the cost of a barrel of oil is right now.
PAGEExtraordinary. About $40 a barrel.
PAGEAnd actually no signs it's going to change, for two reasons: The oil-producing companies, including Saudi Arabia, continue to pump as much oil as they possibly can, even though the price is low. And the nation -- the world's number two energy-using country, China, is going into an economic downturn that probably means that they'll reduce their energy demands. So the price of oil is low...
PAGE...which is good for American drivers, right? The gas is...
PAGE...bad for some of these energy companies.
REHMSo why drill off the Arctic coast?
HARRISThe first job I had out of college, Diane, was in the oil pits of the New York Mercantile Exchange, where we shouted the price of oil around the world for, you know, all day long. It was then memorialized in a movie with Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. So nobody -- and I didn't know then -- one of the reasons why I got out of the pits was I had no idea where the price of oil was going to go -- nobody really knows now. But this technology that has allowed fracking -- so the larger issue is that Obama has always said that he has an all-of-above policy, right? And what has happened in the United States is the United States is now an energy super power.
HARRISYou know, we are going to talk about Jimmy Carter later, and his cancer. We remember Jimmy Carter with his sweater in the White House -- the oil -- the OPEC oil embargo. Now the United States is largely energy independent. Sometime in the next couple of years we're simply going to stop importing oil. Who would have thought that we would have been at this position? We have doubled our production of oil in just the last four to five years. It is an extraordinary moment. And that is as a result of this directional drilling technology and the fracking technology.
HARRISNow there's every reason to believe that that technology, which is almost exclusively used now in the United States, is going to proliferate around the world. China is going to finally figure this out. It hasn't figured it out. India is going to finally figure it out. It hasn't figured it out. And so this -- probably, the guesses are -- and again, I will admit that despite being in the pits, I've no idea where the price is going to go -- but most people believe that the price is going to stay low for a long time. And Saudi Arabia, which used to be able to have this extraordinary power over the price of oil through OPEC, has decided that they have to open the spigots -- because they are among the lowest-cost producers in the world -- just to maintain their -- some revenue, they've got to make it cheap.
ELVINGBecause they're also hoping that if oil gets cheap enough, they can still make money and the frackers and all of the people in the rest of the world who have higher production costs will back off a little bit.
HARRISAnd the hope for you is that the Arctic will be too expensive. Right? That's, you know, even though Obama has said yes to Shell, it's a really expensive place to take oil out of. And as long as oil remains in that $40 a barrel area, it's going to be hard for people to justify going up to those very difficult spots.
REHMGardiner Harris of The New York Times. And you're listening to "The Diane Rehm Show." At the same time, you've got the president going to New Orleans next week for the 10th anniversary of Katrina. And, I mean, talk about environmental issues, how much repair has been done, how much recovery has been done, Gardiner.
HARRISSo I was in Katrina. I was the one who walked through St. Rita's Nursing Home for the first time and, you know, in my bare feet in the mud, saw those 38 bodies, some of them wrapped in shower curtains, many of them in their wheelchairs. You know, it was a terrible, terrible event. And it, you know, I think what President Obama is going to be arguing this year, in multiple places -- he's going on Monday to Las Vegas, he's going on Thursday to New Orleans, he -- the following week he's going to go up to the Arctic -- in every single one of these places he's going to start talking about climate change. And, you know, his message is that disasters like Katrina look like they are going to become more and more and more common.
HARRISYou know, we just had the story out of The New York Times this past -- yesterday, about how the drought in California is almost certainly worsened -- according to these studies -- because of climate change. You know, I just came back from India, Diane, and I lived in New Delhi. And New Delhi routinely has temperatures that are 120 degrees -- 25 million people living in that heat. And that's, you know, only a few degrees temperature up and it, you know, more and more and more people die. It's -- I think his message of the end of his presidency is increasingly about this very thing, climate change.
ELVINGI think that this is obviously going to present a problem for the president, partly because of what we were talking about earlier and this balanced program of encouraging domestic energy production. And when he then goes to New Orleans, when he goes to these other places, when he talks about climate change as part of the problem -- in Louisiana, the oil industry has been enormously important to them economically. And he has tried to deal with both those questions. He's tried to wrestle with the economic questions of what it does to the economy when the oil industry goes down, when the energy industry suffers.
ELVINGAnd we're seeing that even in the stock market, where obviously what's going on in China may be the largest driver and the most dramatic thing going on, but the lower prices of oil are also depressing prices. So a president has to deal with all of that. He can't just say, I'm for restraining climate change. I want us to change our behavior over the long period of time. He also has to deal with the economic conditions of the day and the place.
HARRISAnd just having low prices of oil, Diane, there's no way, probably, that he could have had this Iran deal, that he could have persuaded all of these countries to give up Iranian oil, if the price has been $100, $150, $200 a barrel. So it was -- in fact, it was precisely because of this fracking technology, the all-of-the-above thing, the explosion in production in the United States, that the United States was able to get this international coalition to get Iran to the table. So this whole thing that is happening in the oil industry has enormous repercussions diplomatically, militarily, across the world.
REHMWell, we've also go the Fed meeting in July and we still don't know whether interest rates are going to move up next month. Very quickly, Susan.
PAGEWell, we know the Fed has agreed that they want to raise interest rates. They just are a little shy about doing it until they're sure the recovery is really going well.
REHMAll right. Short break here. Your calls when we come back. Stay with us.
REHMAnd a quick reminder, you can watch our first hour of the Friday news roundup by going to drshow.org. Click on watch live. Another point on the Fed, the Dow is dropping precipitously. I don't know whether that's a word I ought to be using. It's currently down about 200 points. How is the activity of the Dow and China's monetary situation going to affect the Fed's decision as to whether to raise rates?
ELVINGThe Fed is watching. The Fed is watching these markets. The Fed is asking itself, can we go ahead and raise rates, as we know we need to do, as we know we need to do, there's agreement on that, but can we do it now, in September, as we more or less had agreed to do and were really expecting this to happen? Can we do that if the market is in a full-blown correction? And we seem to be heading towards that territory. We lost two percent yesterday. we're at one and a third percent down today, and that's just measuring the Dow, there are lots of other measurements. We all talk about the Dow.
ELVINGAnd the Fed is not going to want to raise interest rates at the moment when we're in a five- to 10-percent correction on the markets because it was going to be perceived as a torpedo into a stumbling recovery.
REHMWhat do you think, Susan?
PAGEYou know, I think that's right. It's hard to imagine, if this is the situation they're facing in the next few weeks, that they would raise interest rates now. That said, there's also concern that at some point interest rates have to go up, if only to give you a tool to use the next time the economy has a downturn, as we know it will. That is the primary tool that the Federal Reserve has. They don't have it in their pocket now because interest rates are effectively zero.
HARRISThey have two roles, Diane. They -- to fight inflation and to keep employment high. And the present chairwoman of the Fed, Janet Yellen, has for years thought that the Fed leaned too far over to preventing inflation and didn't pay enough attention about employment. So she is a skeptic about raising rates. They have all sort of said it's got to happen and all that, but you've got to think with Janet Yellen in charge, it's going to happen later than it might have under someone else's leadership.
REHMAll right, we're going to open the phones, 800-433-8850. First to King, North Carolina. Hi Rick, you're on the air.
RICKHi Diane. Can you hear me okay?
REHMSure can, go right ahead, sir.
RICKI won't belabor this, but I've been listening to you for almost a decade. I love your show.
RICKAnd I've tried calling in so many times. I'm just enamored that I actually was able to get in. So here's my main comment, and I'd be interested to see what your panel has to say. With the Hillary Clinton, you know, email server, the Blackberrys, the thumb drive, et cetera, you know, there's one thing that you've got the judicial, the law and...
REHMQuickly sir, please.
RICKOkay, okay, so irrespective of that, I mean, how does she maintain her trustworthiness being that she just continues year after year after year skirting laws and whatnot even if she's...
RICKEven if she's doing it within the law.
ELVINGThat is the political question. It isn't the legal question, but it is the political question, which ultimately will determine whether or not she can be the standard-bearer for the Democratic Party. If she has taken so much damage on this issue, as many polls suggest she has, because of that honest and trustworthy assessment question that pollsters often ask, if she has taken on so much damage because of this question that she cannot be considered honest and trustworthy by people outside the hard core of the Democratic Party, then it can end her candidacy.
REHMAll right, let's go now to Mike in Cincinnati, Ohio. You're on the air.
MIKEHi, I just had a comment on your treatment of Donald Trump as a candidate, and I continue to be astounded at -- you really don't address him as a credible candidate. You keep trying to marginalize him. And I think the poll numbers, he just keeps going up in the polls, and instead of trying to marginalize the guy and act astounded that he's still doing well in the polls, I don't understand why you can't just address the issues and the viewpoints he's presenting.
REHMAll right, thanks for your call.
PAGEYou know, Mike, I completely agree with you. I think we should take him seriously.
PAGEI think we should treat him the way we treat other candidates. We should ask him for policy positions, for instance, what would he do about some of the problems he identifies and analyze those. And that is actually starting to happen. You know, now he's come out with a -- somewhat more detailed on an immigration plan, for instance.
REHMWell, now, wait a minute. Let's talk about this immigration plan because he's saying you're going to build a higher, longer wall, and you're going to arrest 11 million people and export them.
PAGEYou're going to -- yes. See, so this is the discussion we should have, not is he -- isn't he a joke. But here's his plan. Does it make any sense? Because what he -- he has said various things. You know, he's not the most consistent in his rhetoric, but on his immigration plan, he apparently wants to take all the illegal immigrants who are in the United States.
PAGEWe think there are about 11 million of them, to send them all back home, identify the good ones, although he's not very specific about how you would do that, and allow them to come back.
ELVINGAnd this is to be done by massive deportation, and that would also entail more than 11 million because when he was asked what would you do with undocumented people who are here and living with their families who are legal, he'd say they all have to go, they all have to go. We'll just round them up. We don't want to separate families. That would be bad.
ELVINGSo we're going to round them all up and ship them back where they came from.
REHMBut what about the children? Wasn't there some question about how to label the children?
PAGEWell, there was a discussion with Jeb Bush about his use of the -- his reference to the term anchor babies, which I think many Hispanics see as a derogatory term. And Jeb Bush said that if this is a case of people intentionally -- pregnant women intentionally coming into the United States to have children who will then be U.S. citizens, that's something that we should try to deal with through enforcement.
PAGEThen he was challenged on his use of the term, and he had a kind of heated back-and-forth with a reporter about that.
HARRISAnd the other thing, Diane, is that he's openly acknowledged that many of his policies are not there or are paper thin. I mean, he said in an interview that he gets his military wisdom from TV military advisers. You know, he doesn't actually speak to anybody from the military directly. And then later on he mentioned a couple of military advisors by name that he knows, but the problem with dealing with The Donald as a traditional candidate and using our traditional tools is that he doesn't give us any of the traditional background that we usually have, or very little of it.
REHMBut isn't -- isn't even referring to him as The Donald...
REHMDerogatory? And does that mean that we in the media need to acknowledge he is Donald Trump and not The Donald?
ELVINGWell, that is his handle, as it were, in the entertainment world, from which he emerged, and I'm not talking about his businesses here, I'm talking about things like "Celebrity Apprentice" and so on. And that is how he has been known in the tabloid world that he has largely been a dominant figure in, and so we just adopted that. But you're right, it's an entertainment kind of a handle, and it's not the kind of thing that connotes the respect we usually give to candidates.
ELVINGAlthough we do talk about Bernie when we mean Bernie Sanders.
REHMBut Bernie talks about himself as Bernie.
ELVINGWe don't say Senator Sanders all the time.
HARRISWell, we say the same thing about Hillary, as well, which is also -- I'm not -- look, I think the problem for us is that our worlds and the reality TV worlds are beginning to merge, and we're all a little uncomfortable with that.
REHMYeah, I agree.
PAGEBut, you know, The Huffington Post a while back announced that they would only cover Donald Trump in their entertainment section or...
REHMWho said that?
PAGEThe Huffington Post.
PAGEAnd the Huffington Post editor was on "Morning Joe" on MSNBC this morning defending this and saying they would continue to do this. That seems like an indefensible position to me. He is clearly a political factor. We should deal with him that way.
REHMAll right, let's go to Jim in Dallas, Texas. You're on the air.
JIMHi, how are you doing?
JIMI just feel like Hillary Clinton is starting to get the same kind of character assassination that Bill Clinton got in the '90s. Are we going back to the '90s? Is she going to get a sympathy vote for this like he did?
REHMWhat do you think?
HARRISWell, you know, the amazing thing about the Clintons is how differently they manage to handle the various scandals. You know, Bill had these bimbo eruptions happen throughout the beginning of his campaign, and the remarkable thing about Bill Clinton was how nimble he was with each one of those and how, you know, he in some cases would acknowledge things, he would ask for forgiveness. He sort of managed to seem trustworthy even while having these various difficulties.
HARRISAnd in many ways, you know, it's sort of unclear what's going on with the Hillary Clinton emails, right? Most of the secret stuff that might have been in her emails were sent to her. It doesn't look like she actually did much sending of emails herself. I mean, if she gets caught with -- you know, she clearly seems to have defied government policy that you use a public email server to preserve records, right, but the use of FOIA, for instance in the Bush administration, was more in the lack than the observance.
HARRISI mean, my FOIAs took four years to come to fruition in the Bush administration. So going around these sort of FOIA rules became somewhat common in the federal government. But, you know, even so, she is not nearly as nimble as her husband in acknowledging sort of the problem and seeming trustworthy as a result.
PAGEYou know, there are a lot of bad things about the campaigns that we have, and they go on too long, and they cost too much, but one of the things they do do is they test candidates. And this is a test for Hillary Clinton on how she's going to respond and how she's going to fare. And I would just note that Hillary Clinton was the most effective candidate she'd ever been when she was really under the gun in 2008.
ELVINGCome back to New Hampshire.
REHMAll right, let's talk about some other kinds of testing. Two extraordinary women with extraordinary endurance who made it through the Army's Ranger School. They really deserve our admiration, our wishes for continued success. What a rigorous kind of undertaking.
HARRISI remember picking up a guy on the side of the road, I was going up skiing, and the guy got in my car, and he was a cadaver. And I looked at him, and I said what happened to you. What -- did you have cancer? And he said no, I just graduated from Amy Ranger School. I mean, these schools...
REHMOh, what a story, Gardiner.
HARRISThey are -- you know, they do calorie restrictions, they -- you know, it's famous down in Fort Benning, Georgia, what they put these people through. And the fact that anybody gets through them is remarkable. I actually think that, you know, in those sort of calorie restrictions, certainly long-distance swimming, women do better than men. There are certain things that women just in certain athletic endeavors do better than men. It may be that they actually will do better in some of these calorie-restriction environments than men because they have better stores. But these women, you know, essentially what we're really talking about is do these women change military policy.
HARRISMust the military across the military, you know, they've already announced that they are going to open up some of their Special Operations Forces to women, the SEALs. The Marines are acting very nervous right now. And these women change the dynamic.
ELVINGThey do, and we should name them, First Lieutenant Shaye Haver and Captain Kristen Griest. They did it. They made it. They got through and largely by doing it through the internal dynamics that have always helped people survive the Ranger School, which is you help each other. And you get the trust of your fellow Rangers.
ELVINGAnd I'm sure this has been referred to as brotherhood in the past, and it's going to be a little bit broader now.
REHMSo let's congratulate them.
PAGEGraduation today, and some of the women who were the early women who went through West Point, I understand, are going to the graduation day to show their support for someone who's I think benefitted from the ground they broke, as well.
REHMAnd the saddest story this week, but first you're listening to the Diane Rehm Show. Jimmy Carter's announcement that he had some growth removed from his liver, and then he thought he was fine, and it turns out he has lesions in the brain. He does undergo treatment. I think he underwent his first treatment yesterday. What a sad, sad story, and yet he was so upbeat and so courageous in his presentation.
PAGEYou know, it didn't seem like -- he didn't seem said.
REHMNo, I know he didn't.
PAGEHe said he was perfectly at ease.
REHMI was sad. I was in tears.
PAGEWhat a life he's had, and, you know, he didn't win a second term in the White House, a mixed record as president, but such an admirable record as a former president. The things that he has done for the world as a former president are truly remarkable.
ELVINGThe longest time anyone's lived after leaving the White House, and 35 years it would be in January, and this time he has spent with the Carter Center in particular, fighting disease, lots of peace initiatives, lots of controversy. And many of the things that he has said and written about, for example Israel, have not made him friends, but they have also made him friends with other people, and he has always taken forthright stands about his views and built on the Camp David Accords, which were the one signal achievement, perhaps, of his presidency.
REHMI was fascinated to learn that he had not told Rosalyn, his wife, for two weeks about the cancer.
HARRISYou know, I saw them in Appalachia when I lived in Hazard, Kentucky, and they came to build homes. And he sat down with me, the two of them, and they are the most gracious, open people.
HARRISHe was in Nepal during the -- you know, in actually the lead-up to the election last year, when I was there, as well. I mean, he has been everywhere. He is a zealot. And in fact in this press conference, he was talking about how this is going to change his life, and he talked about he and Rosalyn had talked 20 years ago about, you know, reducing their time at the Carter Center, 10 years ago, five years ago.
HARRISAnd maybe now he'll start reducing his time. But even still, he has things he wants to get done. And the one line that I thought was so great was that he wants the last guinea worm to die before he does, right, which is this fight against the guinea worm in Africa has been one of his signal fights.
REHMAnd I was so proud to have President Carter on for the 11th time just a few weeks ago. He was absolutely extraordinary. Whether he already had some inkling I know not, but he was just as beautiful a man as I have ever seen. Thank you all for being here.
PAGEThank you, Diane.
ELVINGThank you, Diane.
HARRISSure, thank you.
REHMIt's good to have you back, Susan Page, as always, and Ron Elving at NPR. Thanks, all, for listening. I'm Diane Rehm.
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